In a day and age where the word "Nazi" is (alarmingly) being used more frequently than ever, our world requires a certain sensitivity when approaching topics like the Holocaust that saw the killing of six million European Jews and millions of others minority peoples during World War II. All making a German figure skater's decision to pair her routine with the score from Schindler's List all the more perplexing.
Vying for the gold medal, Nicole Schott took to the ice in the figure skating on Thursday at the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic games with the score to Steven Spielberg's famously moving and heart-wrenching score filling the arena. Spielberg, who is Jewish, crafted Schindler's List to tell the real-life story of German industrialist Oskar Schindler and how he saved the lives of more than a thousand Jews during the Holocaust by hiring them to work in his factories which prevented them from being shipped to concentration camps. Under Nazi Leader Adolph Hitler, the Holocaust killed more than two-thirds of Europe's Jewish population, including a reported 144,000 Jews in Germany. Today, Schindler's List stands today as an award-winning beacon of defiance of evil and hope in humanity even in the midst of Nazi Germany.
The Internet responded accordingly to the admittedly odd decision, especially given today's political climate and Germany's history. SNL star and everyone's favorite Olympic commentator Leslie Jones gained one of the most-noted reactions:
Just tuned into Olympic figure skating and the German figure skater is skating to the theme song from ... Schindler’s List. No joke. Call me crazy but that doesn’t seem right.— Ariel Helwani (@arielhelwani) February 23, 2018
German figure skater performing to music from Schindler’s List. Thats...not the choice I’d go with. pic.twitter.com/0B0B3YK9uS— Sarah (@BookishFeminist) February 23, 2018
A German figure skater using a song from Schindler's List feels like something that should have been caught by one of the first 55,000 people it would have had to go through to get here.— Scott Harris (@ScottHarrisMMA) February 23, 2018
Germany has had a continuously tough relationship with the Jewish people, particularly when the Olympics have been involved. At the 1972 Summer Olympic games in Munich, West Germany, nine Israeli athletes, coaches and officials were taken hostage and eventually killed by a Palestinian terrorist organization after an undermanned German operation to save them failed. Known as the "Munich massacre," three assassins survived the ordeal, but were eventually released by the West German government in exchange for a hijacked jet. The massacre forced the German federal government to re-examine its anti-terrorism policies.
Furthermore, several German ice skaters have used Schindler's List in their programs. Per Newsweek, German champion Katarina Witt performed to the score (as did American figure skater Paul Wylie) in 1994, the same year the film was released.
With social media making the general public's opinion more swaying than ever, perhaps Team Germany will put a little more consideration into their music choices moving forward. Next, watch Olympic gold medalist Shaun White talk snowboarding and festival culture below: